Looking for the best silk face masks? Tbh, I reckon it’s about time we all made the switch.
If you’ve held off on the fancy masks, perhaps preferring not to splash cash on ‘a bit of fabric’, now is the time to change your mindset. It’s been nearly a year since we entered on-and-off lockdown, and over six months since face coverings were a legal requirement in shops and on public transport. And now that hairdressers, beauty salons and pub gardens are opening up, you physically can't get back into the swing of normality without one. Basically, it’s a way of life, so right now your choice of mask is about as important as it gets.
Comfort is key. Hands up who thought struggling to breathe was part and parcel of wearing a face mask? I learnt a few months back that this doesn't have to be the case. I’d tried almost everything: paper masks (breathable, yes, but kinda gross and also bad for the environment), structured seamed styles (two words: can’t breathe), seamless knitted ones (they feel too absorbent) and single layer cotton styles (hella flimsy) to no avail.
Until I was sent a silk face mask to test, I had never even considered one. The OG styles were around £40 a pop, which I deemed expensive for something so small. Now, however, I realise it’s so worth it if you're in a fortunate position to spend that kind of cash – especially give that they’re reusable. I’d spend roughly the same on a foundation, or a hair serum, so why not other items I’d wear every day? Not to mention, something that could stop the spread of coronavirus.
The main reason I was so sold on silk face masks at first was due to their breathability; it was a lightbulb moment when I realised face coverings didn’t have to be suffocating, sweaty or oppressive. Now I’ll go into just a little detail about why exactly that is...because if you’re paying big bucks for a face mask, you want to know what you’re getting ofc.
What's so great about silk?
Silk is an excellent choice for your face mask because it's super breathable while also repelling moisture. A study carried out in September 2020 on the ideal fabrics for PPE pitted silk against cotton and polyester and found it be most resistant to aerosolised water droplets due to its greater hydrophobicity (basically, it's less absorbent).
Thanks to this, silk won’t trap humidity in the same way other fabrics do; creating better airflow, thus making it easier to breath through. The study also discovered that even after repetitive washing of silk face masks, these key functionalities remain.
Are silk face masks better for acne or sensitive skin?
The funny thing is, these beneficial properties are rarely discussed when it comes to silk face masks as we’ve all been focusing on how it can help our skin, instead. Beauty buffs have been swearing by this fabric as a means to better hair and skin for years (we wrote a love letter to silk pillowcases here) due to its soft finish and breathable weave.
Not only is it less of an irritant to skin than rougher cotton or polyester weaves, its hydrophobicity (see how we’re loving this word) helps keep nasty impurities out of its fibres and off of your skin. Whether that can actually solve any skin woes is another matter, but it’s definitely going to be kinder to your face than anything else.
Which is the best silk face mask?
Honestly, from what I’ve tested, it is worth coughing up a bit to get the perfect silk face mask. For instance, Slip’s style might look similar to something handmade but it’s a well-thought out piece of kit designed to be as comfortable as possible (see below for details).
If budget isn’t the concern, however, it’ll come down to details. I prefer ear loops to head ties which tend to slip down and are more tempting to fuss with. I also find sand-washed silk better than silk-satin: it’s softer, by far, less sweaty in warm weather and more breathable. (It is worth noting, but not proven, that it’s possible satin could be more repellant by nature of its lustrous shiny surface compared with sand-washed weaves, which become more absorbent through this roughing up process.)
Still can’t decide? Cosmopolitan has given the best silk masks a whirl to see what they’re all about. It’s basically a try-before-you-buy situation, but with us doing all the hard work. You’re most welcome.
Best silk face mask: MONPURE
Monpure's face coverings are cut a little differently to your average, forgoing pleating for a straight shape. It's the panel at the chin, plus a concealed nose wire, that keeps your mask snug and fitted to your face. The effect is a neater look, with less bunching.
Made from lustrous, layered silk-satin, each mask comes with toggled ear loops and a mesh pouch for safekeeping. Aesthetically, this option is one of the best: we love the cream and bottle-green colourways, as well as the logo embroidery. The fact they cost just £20 each, which is really reasonable given the quality, is just the cherry on top.
Best silk face mask: SLIP
Slip specialises in all things silk (pillowcases, sleep masks, scrunchies, you name it), so it's only natural that it was one of the first brands to debut face coverings made of the stuff. I won't lie, it's pretty expensive option, but once you see it up close and personal you immediately know why.
Made from two layers of pleated silk-satin sandwiching a cotton filter, this mask is fitted with a featherweight wire nose bridge (there are 10 replacements in the pack, too) and has smooth elastic ear loops (also with replacements) with toggles to personalise the fit. There's also a protective silk pouch included to keep your mask clean. It's a celebrity favourite, too: Chrissy Teigen has been spotted in the pink and leopard-print designs.
Best silk face mask: CULT BEAUTY
One of the best budget options on the market, Cult Beauty's own-brand silk face masks are great value for money. However, unlike the Monpure option, you can tell instantly they're on the cheaper side (not that it matters if they do the job, right?).
Made from 100% silk spun into a shiny satin weave, these double-layer masks are fitted with a nose wire and have toggled ear loops so you can personalise the fit. They're cut in a similar shape to Monpure's: flat with a seamed centre and fitted with a chin panel. The best bit? They even come with a matching bag which is not only cute, but safer (we're all guilty of shoving our masks into the depths of our dirty handbags).
Best silk face mask: WOLFORD
Wolford's silk face mask looks a little different to the rest. It's cut to create a moulded shape and has a front seam that domes ever so slightly for extra space inside. The result is seamless; the mask sits super snug to your face and this, plus the nose wire, will help stop your glasses steaming up.
Made from layered black silk-satin, this number is printed with the brand's logo in silver and has adjustable elastic ear toggles. The subtle design means its unisex, although we think anyone should feel comfortable rocking the rose gold/leopard print styles in this edit.
If you're looking for a seriously luxe silk face covering, why not add one of Wolford's mask chains to your basket? These gold clip-on chains are punctuated with faux pearls and a logo charm at either end. It's a spenny purchase, we'll admit, but at least you'll never lose your mask (which is especially painful when it's a decent silk one).
Best silk face mask: Etsy
If the price tags on these beautiful silk masks are making you wince, fret not: we've found a great alternative that'll save you cash and support independent businesses. Talk about winning.
A quick search on Etsy will bring up a plethora of 100% silk face coverings that'll do the job. Be careful to read the small print though and don't make the mistake of buying synthetic satin instead of the real deal; it's said to be less effective than silk at preventing the spread of droplets, and just far more uncomfortable to wear.
We've found and tested this great option by StyledByFifi starting from as little as £5.96. Don't let the price fool you, this is quality stuff. Each mask is made from two layers of silk-satin, pleated for a snug fit, and has elastic ear loops to secure it.
Best silk face mask: I.D SARRIERI
I.D Sarrieri's mask is one of the most comfortable out there thanks to its sand-washed surface, which I've found to be the softest finish on skin. It has a much simpler construction (the ear loops are quite basic) and feels less structured than the Slip styles, with just two lightweight pieces of pleated fabric.
A word on this: while thicker iterations are in theory more effective, if you have to keep a mask on for long periods of time and find these less breathable, you could be less likely to fiddle with something lighter like I.d Sarrieri's. I would always recommend keeping a style like this on hand for hot summer days regardless.
Best silk face mask: VALLE & VIK
Valle & Vik's mask is made from sand-washed silk and lined with a very thin layer of cotton. This works to create a breathable finish, but if you are looking for mascne solutions this one might not be for you. I love this mask and find it incredible comfortable, thanks to its large surface area and generous pleats (yup, it even stays on when you yawn) and covered elastic ear tabs that are kinder to skin.
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